Marriage is becoming a joke in our society.
Take the example of reality-TV star Kim Kardashian and her marriage to NBA player Kris Humphries, which lasted all of 72 days.
This has given great fodder to the late night comedians:
- On The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, he remarked, “If two celebrities who barely know each other and get married just for a TV show can’t make it, what hope is there for any of us?”
- Jimmy Fallon said, “Tonight’s show will last about an hour — just like Kim Kardashian’s marriage.” Then he added: “That’s right, Kim Kardashian is ending her marriage. Details of the proceedings will remain private, until E! airs its three-hour divorce special.”
- David Letterman noted, “Kim Kardashian was married for 72 days and now she’s getting a divorce. They were bickering at the altar and now they’re fighting over custody of the cake.”
So when did marriage become such a joke in our society?
When I go to the gym and talk with the people there or I go to a local civic club I belong to, I often find that being married (and staying married) is not necessarily the norm in our society anymore.
My daughter, who is 29 years old and was married earlier this year (in a marriage that has now lasted three times the length of the Kardashian union), recently attended the 10th anniversary of her high school graduation. Sadly, marriage was not the norm for most of her classmates. In fact, she was aware of just two marriages (counting hers) among her fellow graduates.
Among celebrities, Kardashian and Humphries are not alone. The San Antonio Express News (October 31, 2011) compiled a list of celebrity marriages that didn’t last very long:
- Robin Givens in 1997 married her tennis instructor. They were married at 10 a.m. and separated by 4 p.m.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor married for the eighth time in 1983. She had the marriage annulled the next day.
- Britney Spears was married to a childhood sweetheart in 2004. It lasted 55 hours.
- Dennis Hopper married singer Michelle Phillips in 1970 — a marriage that lasted eight days.
- In 1975, Cher married Gregg Allman. That collapsed after nine days.
And lest we think this is exclusively a modern phenomenon, in 1919, silent film star Rudolph Valentino wed Jean Acker in a marriage that lasted all of six hours.
Celebrity marriages in general don’t seem to do very well. Partly because it’s all based on feelings. Feelings come and go. Commitment remains for good.
It’s almost as if they should revise the wedding vows. “For richer”? Sure. “For poorer”? Forget it. “In sickness”? No way. “And in health”? Yes. “‘Til death do us part”? Are you serious? More like “’Til my emotions change do us part.”
Another part of the problem is that we have forgotten that marriage was God’s idea in the first place. We forget His rules on this issue.
Call me old fashioned, but I think Alfred Kinsey and Hugh Hefner share a lot of blame for much of what’s happened to marriage in America.
In the 1940s, Kinsey studied the sexual habits of prisoners, of college students and of loose women. Then he extrapolated from this that large portions of the American people were sexually active outside of marriage. He had an unrepresentative sample, but his research was taken as gospel.
(Judith Reisman has written several books documenting the extent of the fraudulent nature of Kinsey’s research, in terms of his skewed study samples.)
Hugh Hefner was to Kinsey’s fallacious research as St. Paul was to Jesus — his chief disciple to spread the word. Only this wasn’t good news.
In an email to me, Judith Reisman writes of the founder of the Playboy enterprise and his intellectual mentor: “Hefner … said he read Kinsey and decided he would be ‘Kinsey’s pamphleteer,’ while a virgin in college, like most college men at the time. This moral worldview was maintained until the mid-50s and our current laws and views on abortion, sodomy, school sex-ed are wholly and completely grounded in the ‘findings’ of … the zoologist, Al Kinsey.”
Meanwhile, studies show that couples who save their sexuality for the marriage bed by-and-large are much happier and tend to stay together much longer. They also have far stronger and satisfying sex lives.
Divorce is devastating for children. It hurts their self-esteem. It hurts their short-term and long-term chances for success. Not that it’s insurmountable. But it’s not helpful.
The lack of respect for marriage in our culture may provide comic relief for the late night crowd. But it’s really a tragedy of unbelievable proportions — especially for our children.
Dr. Jerry Newcombe is the senior producer and co-host of Truth that Transforms with Dr. D. James Kennedy. He has also written or co-written 21 books, including 14 with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. His forthcoming book, Answers from the Founding Fathers, is available from Truth in Action Ministries (formerly Coral Ridge Ministries).
Publication date: November 4, 2011